When Merkel met Trump

Marco Green
March 19, 2017

US President Donald Trump welcomed German Chancellor Angela Merkel to the White House on Friday and spoke to reporters on issues from global trade to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to alleged wiretapping.

United States intelligence agencies under Mr Obama reportedly monitored Mrs Merkel's phone, sparking an angry response. "These nations must pay what they owe", he said. At one point Trump made what was apparently a joke, standing by his unproven claims that his predecessor's administration tapped his phones.

Her visit was scheduled for Tuesday but had to be postponed due to a snowstorm.

Trump, who has promised to reinvigorate United States industry and provide more jobs, was impressed by what he heard about the vocational training offered by German firms. Needless to say, she didn't comment.

Trump has also anxious USA allies by criticizing the military alliance as "obsolete" and failing to meet the challenge posed by Islamic terror groups.

"You should be talking to Fox", Trump said. I didn't make an opinion on it'.

Merkel also said economic and political negotiations within the European Union and with the United States must consider the plight of tens of millions of refugees who have fled war-torn Syria and violence and poverty in sub-Saharan Africa.

Trump suggested before he took office that the U.S. might not come to the defense of allies who didn't meet the 2 per cent spending goal, and said the coalition doesn't always best serve American interests. The press was brought into the Oval Office where Merkel was seated alongside Trump Friday afternoon, and the two leaders gave only perfunctory answers to shouted questions from the media. He continued looking forward as the cameras rolled.

'I am not an isolationist by any stretch of the imagination, ' Trump said.

The US president also said he expected relations with Berlin to feature "fair and reciprocal trade policies".

When the topic moved to trade, Trump said the US would do "fantastically well" in its trade relations with Germany. The two leaders tried to emphasize common interests, despite major policy differences.

Before coming to office, the U.S. president called Merkel's acceptance of refugees a "catastrophic mistake" and said she was "ruining Germany".

In one fell swoop, President Trump managed to wave off one embarrassing worldwide incident with a close European ally by invoking another. On economy and the impact of migration, Merkel added that traffickers must be stopped, but welfare for refugees has to be taken care of.

But she faced another barrage of questions on Twitter, mostly on a common theme.

Their first meeting came as she prepares for an election battle later in the year, seeking a fourth term as chancellor.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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